A BRIEF CASE OF THE DISTILLERS, And of the Distilling Trade IN ENGLAND, SHEWING How far it is the Interest of England to encourage the said Trade, as it is so considerable an Advantage To the Landed Interest, To the Trade and Navigation, To the Publick Revenue, and To the Employment of the Poor. Humbly recommended to the Lords and Commons of Great Britain, in the present Par­liament assembled.

LONDON, Printed for T. WARNER at the Black-Bay in Pater-noster-row. M.DCC.XXVI. Price One Shilling.

THE PREFACE.

AS almost every thing in this criticising Age is liable to be cavil'd at and disputed, so contrary to the Rules of Charity and good Humour, it is the avow'd Temper, or at least the Practice of the Age, where any thing so disputed is liable to a double or differing Con­struction, always to take it in the worst.

To prevent this, and anticipate the Cavils of those who would suggest E­vil where no Evil ought to be suggested, a short Preface is thought needful to [Page iv] this Work, tho otherwise plain enough, to prepare the Reader to be at least ho­nest and just, if he should not incline to be candid and generous, in his looking over the following Sheets.

Here's no Apology to be made for Vice, no extenuating of Crimes, no Harangues for Drunkenness; when, at the same time, the Liquors, which it has been suggested are instrumental to our Immo­ralitys, are, as the Reader may think, spoken favourably of.

But we are stating the Case of the Distilling Business as a Commerce, and of the Distillers as a Society improving that Commerce, for the Good of their Country; enquiring whether they are a publick Good, and Encouragers of the Trade yea or no: if they are, the Par­liament of Great Britain now sitting will judge whether it is meet to encourage them or not; and if not, vice versa.

[Page v] But it seems needful to hint, and this is the Reason of this Preface, That the Question does not seem to lie here, Whe­ther the Spirits shall be distill'd and con­sum'd among us, and whether the Poor shall drink them? But, Whether the Dutch shall surnish us with them, and cheat and impose upon us, as well pub­lickly as privately, in the grossest and most barefac'd manner? or whether our own Manufacture shall supply us, our own Growth be consum'd, and our own People employ'd?

These are indeed very short Questi­ons, and I think few Words will decide them: If the first be encourag'd, and Fraud and clandestine Trade be continu­ed, for want of due Regulations, and proper Measures taken to prevent it, I shall only say it shall not be for want of due Information. But if our own Manufacture, the Labour and In­dustry of our own People, and the Con­sumption of our own Growth be encou­rag'd, [Page vi] as we cannot doubt they will, I take the Liberty to say, the Distilling-Trade in England, which is already so much improv'd and encreas'd, will in a very few Years conquer all foreign Im­portations, all the clandestine and cor­rupt Management of other Countries, who impose upon us, and even the smuggling and running of French Bran­dy itself.

The same Ignorance that occasions most of the Prejudice at the Distilling Trade among us, oblig'd me to enter into the Detail of the Dutch Operations with their Malt Spirits; and the first In­troduction of Geneva among the common People, which otherwise some might pretend is useless in the Case before us. But 'tis needful we should know Things in their Original, and be able to see from what Fountain every Mischief flows, that we may not lay the Weight where it ought not to lie.

[Page vii] The Dutch were doubtless look'd up­on as great Benefactors to our Com­merce, and who by taking off yearly so great a Quantity of our Corn, were so great an Advantage to our Landed In­terest, our Navigation, and our Poor; and while the Product, let it be what it will, was consum'd abroad, and their Geneva and other Spirits reach'd no farther than their Camps and Fleets (and withal while they did not cheat us in the Draw-backs too, if ever that time was) they were really so.

But here you will see that it is possible, in the general turn of things, and the Changes which matters of Trade, in com­mon with the rest of human Affairs, are subject to, what is a publick Good to day, may be a publick Grievance to morrow; and what a Law is made to encourage at one time, may require a Law to pro­hibit and prevent at another: And this is the true Case of the Dutch Dis­tilling Trade, as it shocks with, and at [Page viii] this time interferes with our own, as will be seen from p. 24 to 36. of this Work, in which an Account of that Part is given.

Time, and a short Discourse, swell'd also beyond expectation in other needful parts, prevents entring further into these things at present; but by this may be seen the great Difficultys this valua­ble Business of the English Distillery has struggled with, and the great and just Arguments for its farther Encou­ragement. All which is humbly sub­mitted to the Wisdom and Justice of the Parliament.

A BRIEF STATE OF THE CASE OF THE DISTILLERS, &c.

THE Distilling of Spirits, is indeed an antient Art; and the Distillers Com­pany is antient, having been incor­porated in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. But as the Nature of their Business is quite chang'd, that they work in a new Method, and from new Materials, are under new Limi­tations, and their Interest and Trade stand in a new and quite different Situation from what was the Case formerly; so it may be said, their very Constitution is modern, and they are young in the Manufacture.

[Page 2] But however young the Trade may be, and that the Materials they work from are diffe­rent from what they formerly made use of, it is apparent, that they are infinitely more a publick Benefit to the Nation, than they were before; and that the Distilling Trade, consi­dered in its present Magnitude, is one of the greatest Improvements, and the most to the Advantage of the Publick, of any Business now carried on in England.

In former Times, the Distillers, like other incorporated Arts and Mysterys, work'd whol­ly for themselves and for their own Profit: now they, without a Pun, may be truly said to be publick spirited People; for they work for the whole Body, and that immediately and in a particular manner.

1. They work for the Gentlemen or Land­ed Interest, in consuming the Produce of their Soil, and encouraging Tillage and Husbandry.

2. They work for the Tenant and Farmer, in helping them off with their Corn, and particularly in finding them a Market for those Grains of the meanest Quality, and which it would be difficult, if not impossible for them to dispose of to Advantage any other way.

3. They work for the Navigation of the Kingdom; abundance of Shipping and other Vessels, being daily and constantly, and some wholly employ'd, in bringing the Corn and Coal which is consum'd by the Distillers Trade, up to London, from the remotest Parts of the Kingdom.

[Page 3] 4. They work for the Poor; many Thou­sands of Familys being necessarily employ'd as well in the Husbandry of the Corn they use, as in the Malting it, then in carrying and re­moving it to and from the Malting-Places, to the Ports for shipping it to London, or other­wise to London directly by Land.

5. But above all this, they work for the Publick in the extraordinary Sums of Money, which they pay to the Crown, as well in the Excise upon the Spirits they extract, as in the Duty upon the Malt paid before it comes to their Hands, and in the Tax upon Coals.

To explain these Particulars a little farther, tho as briefly as we can, let it be consider'd,

1. The landed Gentlemen must be sensible the Distillers work for them, since the Distil­ling Trade in and about London only, con­sumes about 200000 Quarters of Corn, and that Corn necessarily employs 100000 Acres of Land for the Produce of it; for this kind of Corn being generally the Product of the re­mote Countys, where the Lands are not rich, we may venture to say, two Quarters upon an Acre one with another, is no mean Crop, and is sufficient to make a due Calculation upon.

N. B. The Horses employ'd in the Hus­bandry of 100000 Acres of Land every Year, and in the Carriage of this Corn to the Mal­sters, and the Re-carriage of the Malt either to the Market, or to the Port where it is to be shipp'd, tho no guess can be made at their [Page 4] Number; yet this may with Modesty be al­lowed, that those Cattle being very many, must necessarily consume the Growth and Pro­duce of many Thousands of Acres of Land more.

Nor is it sufficient to say, that if those Lands did not produce this Corn, they would pro­duce something else; or that if the Distillers did not take off and consume this Corn, some­body else would; seeing it is evident, England being now become what they properly call a Corn Country, produces much more Corn than it can consume: And if that Consumption should be lessen'd, many of those Lands must lie uncultivated, as it is manifest many Thou­sands of Acres did before. It is also a receiv'd Maxim, that every Quarter of Corn which is carried off, and consum'd more than was con­sum'd before, (no Scarcity being occasioned at Home) is so much clear Gain to the publick Stock of the Nation.

If it be objected, that the Liquor distill'd is consumed at Home, and so is not equally be­neficial to the publick Stock, as what is ex­ported; 'tis answered, (1.) But much of it is also exported, and more would be, if Encou­ragement were given. (2.) That most of what is consumed at Home, is us'd in the stead and room of French and Foreign Brandys and Spirits, which are generally bought abroad with ready Money, and smuggl'd on Shore to the Ruin of the fair Trader, and lessening the Re­venue by a constant abcminable Fraud, and [Page 5] which it appears no Laws yet made, have been sufficient to prevent.

2. The Tenant or Farmer is particularly work'd for, being assisted by the Distilling Trade, and that in several respects; as the Distillers not only take off a great Quantity of their Corn, but also take off those Kinds which are not marketable for other Uses: As, particularly, (1.) When thro' long Drought the Grain appears thin and light, as is often the Case; or by unseasonable Rains in Harvest the Farmers cannot get their Corn well in; or when by that or other Disasters and Accidents it is damaged, either in the Field, or in the Barn, in the Ear, or in the Sack; in all which Ca­ses the Farmer is put to great Difficulty to dis­pose of it, and were it not for the Distilling­Trade could do little with it but feed his Hogs, which would not enable him to pay his Rent. (2.) The Farmers have oftentimes Lands which not only will not bear any other Corn, but that for want of Manure and Improvement. (which in some Places is hard to be had) of thro' the Sterility and Poverty of the Soil, are unable to produce either better Corn, or a bet­ter and fuller Grain of the Kind; and which Lands, if they could not employ them thus, must lie waste and untill'd, but are profitably cultivated by the Vent which they find for that meaner Kind of Grain to the Distillers. This is visible in the Northern and Eastern Countys and Coasts of England, where a very great Quantity of poor and unimproveable Lands, [Page 6] which formerly lay waste, are now plow'd and sow'd, to the Advantage of the poor Tenants, tho much more of the Landlord.

3. The Encouragement given to Navigation by the Distilling-Trade in England, is visible in many Branches of it: For the Corn and the Coals which they consume, being a bulky and heavy Carriage, and not to be easily brought far by Land, the Number of Coasting Ships and Vessels of all Kinds are visibly encreas'd since the Encrease of this Trade, and consequently the Number of Seamen employ'd are encreas'd; the Advantage of which is so well known, it needs not be enlarg'd on: The Coasting-Navi­gation also being the greatest and best Nursery of able Seamen in the whole Nation.

To the Encrease of the Number of Ships and Vessels thus employ'd, might be added here, the Addition which that Encrease is to all the numerous Trades, both Foreign and Home-Trades, and to the Employment of Hands, and Encrease of Business, which ne­cessarily attends the building, fitting out, fur­nishing, and victualling all those Vessels. But I forbear to run it out to its full Length, con­tenting my self to represent that this Trade is a great Addition to the Marine Interest, and an Encrease and Encouragement of all its De­pendencys.

That they work for the Poor is evident by their setting the Poor to work, which indeed is the best way of working for them. The Number of Hands employ'd, or whose Em­ployments are bettered and encreased by this [Page 7] Trade, would take up a Volume by it self to calculate and cast it up. It is sufficient to say, that as all Encrease of Business is an Encrease of Employment for the Poor, so all Encrease of Employment for the Poor is an Encrease of the publick Stock; as it enables those People to gain their Bread, who were not able to do it, or not so well able, before. And this again assists the landed Interest too, in abating the heavy Rates of the Parish-Poor, and enabling several thousands of poor People to support themselves and Familys, which must otherwise be left upon the Parishes to maintain.

This runs thro' all the several Branches of Business and People, thro' whose Hands the said Manufactures pass, as well the Distilling Part it self, as the Materials made use of for the Pro­duction, as Corn and Coals, and the Shipping and other Carriages already mentioned; as al­so the vast expensive Works of the Distillers themselves, the Copper and Iron-Work they make use of, the Vessels and large Utensils, and the Number of Hands employ'd, and the exceeding Charge daily expended by them in all these Things.

But we wave the multiplying Particulars, and come to the last Article, namely, the great Be­nefit to the Publick, arising by the Dutys with which this Trade is loaded, and which have now for many Years encreased the Funds upon which the Publick Credit has been so long up­upheld; and these are considerable in three Branches.

  • [Page 8]1. The several Excises upon the Spirits themselves, laid in several Branches and at seve­ral Times, and which amount in the whole to above a hundred thousand Pounds per Annum.
  • 2. The Duty upon Malt, which is paid by the Distillers in the Price of the Goods, when they buy, and which amounts to a very great Sum.
  • 3. The Duty upon Coals, of which the Distillers consume, by Calculation, above twen­ty thousand Chaldrons a Year.

The Advantages of this Trade being thus consider'd, it occurs in the next Place, to shew, (1.) That this Trade is yet improving, that it is a growing Trade, and that if not discou­raged by unreasonable Hardships and Imposi­tions, it is likely to encrease in an extraordi­nary manner. And, (2.) That this Encrease is likely to be obtain'd, not by an Encrease of Excesses and Immoralities, but by changing the Gust of the People, from drinking those other Spirits and Brandys, which being manufactu­red, corrupted, and adulterated abroad, are not only imported, as well clandestinely as otherwise, to the great Injury of the Health of our People, but being bought by our ready Money, are a great Disadvantage to our Com­merce, and Injury to the Revenue.

1. That the Distilling Trade is a still improv­ing and growing Business; and it is worth con­sidering to what a Height, and on what a just [Page 9] Foundation it is likely to improve; for if it be already, even while it is not much above twen­ty Years old, in its present Magnitude, so ad­vanced, as has been already said, as to pay so great a Revenue to the Crown, and employ such a prodigious Number of Acres of Land, besides Ships, Cattle and Men, what may it not do, when by the Improvement of the Art, and the granting such Regulations by which it would flourish, it shall from the mere Good­ness of the Goods that shall be produc'd, en­tirely suppress the Importation of Foreign Mix­tures, and even of French Brandy itself; the Spirit distill'd from Corn in England, prevail­ing over them all by the Force of its own Me­rit?

Nor is this Question unworthy the Consi­deration of the Crown it self; whether the Encouraging the Distilling Trade, is not really a better and more effectual way to raise a Re­venue by it, than loading it with new Taxes, which can have no other Effect than to lessen the Consumption, and bring a rising Manufac­ture under a Decay.

It is evident, that as well by the Dearness of French Brandy, and the Corruption and Fraud of the Dutch Importation, as by the improv'd and still advancing Goodness of the English Malt Spirit, which I shall make appear is coming fairly up to be equal to the best French Brandy; the great and opiniated Gust of the People to French and Foreign Brandy, is already much abated, and the Consumption of our own Pro­duct [Page 10] gains Ground on them every Day, to the great Advantage of the whole Nation.

As the Consumption encreases, the publick Revenue encreases of course, without the Addition of new Taxes, with this undeniable Difference to the Advantage of England, namely, That this way as the Revenue en­creases, all the fore-mentioned Advantages will encrease: The Quantity of Lands to be cultivated, will encrease: The Advantage to the Farmer, the Employment of Cattle, Ships and Men, will all encrease with it▪ where­as by burdening the Trade with new Dutys, it cannot be pretended the Consumption will encrese, tho the Duty should; on the con­trary, if it should decrease, as is most natural, the Dearness of all Goods lessening the Con­sumption, then all those national Advantages above must decrease in proportion.

As to the weak Pretences of the Malt Spi­rits being destructive to the Health of the Peo­ple, they seem only fit to be jested with, as they have been: and I must say, I am sorry to see some Magisterial People have expos'd their Weakness in this Point so much.

They have no where shew'd the World a Reason why as good and wholesom a Spirit may not be drawn from the Corn, (whose mere De­coction in other Preparations is allow'd to be so good) as from any other Materials; and if, as the Learned say, the Spirit only is the nutritive Part of all our Food, whether Meat or Drink, [Page 11] there can then be no question, but that a Spirit carefully extracted from the gross and humid Parts, and faithfully prepared without any A­dulterations or corrupt Mixtures, must be as wholesom to the Body, as the same Spirit un­extracted and mix'd with the common Liquids by Infusion and Ebullition; or as any Spirit ex­tracted from other Principles of any kind what­soever.

As for the Excesses and Intemperances of the People, and their drinking immoderate Quantitys of Malt Spirits, the Distillers are not concern'd in it at all; their Business is to prepare a Spirit wholesom and good. If the People will destroy themselves by their own Excesses, and make that Poison, which is o­therwise an Antidote; 'tis the Magistrate's Bu­siness to help that, not the Distillers. 'Tis humbly conceiv'd also, they would do the same with Foreign Brandy and Spirits, if there was no distilling at Home in the whole Na­tion.

It is in the next place, humbly offered to the Publick to consider, what a Trade, and how ruinous to the Nation in several consi­derable Articles, the Distilling Trade in England is now opposed to; and how necessary it is to have that pernicious Commerce, if possible, suppress'd. And this Part is the more useful, because it seems very few, even of our most penetrating Gentlemen, are fully Masters of it.

[Page 12] Were the Foreign Importation of Spirits confin'd only to that Species we call French, which it is generally allow'd is a wholesom and well extracted Spirit; yet as the French Brandys are a Product infinitely injurious to our Commerce, bought from a Nation with whom we having no Treaty of Commerce, cannot exchange our Manufactures, but must pay for them in Specie, to the evident turning the Ballance of Trade against us: In this respect they are injurious to the Health of the Publick, if not to the Health of particular Bodys; and consequently 'tis a publick Good to discourage them, and abate their Consumption.

But when we come to speak of the Foreign Spirits, (however falsly call'd Brandys) it is e­vident there the Case differs extremely, and we are so great Sufferers in that Part, as well in respect to the Health of the Body as the Pros­perity of Commerce, and the Frauds put upon the Crown to the great Loss of the Revenue; that as it is a publick Good in our Distilling Trade, that we gain upon and lessen that Trade, so it must be some Service to expose the Abuses of it, and let our People see how gr [...]sly they are impos'd upon in it, both in the publick and private Interest of our Coun­try

To set this dark Commerce in a clear Light, 'tis needful to take notice, by what unhappy Artifice the subtle Dutch Traders are enabled, our own Weakness concurring, not only to un­derwork us, but to impose upon us, and sell [Page 13] us Spirits distill'd from our own Materials, cheaper than we can make them at Home; tho as it happens, their Avarice, so natural to their Climate, will not suffer them to make them so good.

First then, we are to suppose they have the Malt from England, as generally they have from Norfolk, and the Parts adjacent.

The Fraud begins at the very Beginning; for the Dutch approving to have their Malt far grown on the Floor, and without dressing and skreening off the Tails, as we call them; the Malster lets it run in such manner, that 20 Quarter of Barley shall measure out 40 Quar­ter of Malt: I speak within Compass, for it has been known to measure 50 to 60 Quar­ter, from 20. Now the Fraud of this lies here, The Malt in the Maker's Hands be­ing gaged in the Barley, the Duty, which is 4s. per Quarter, is paid by the Measure or Gage of the Barley wetted; so the Score, or 20 Quarter pays 4l. to the King.

When this Barley is malted, and the Malt comes to be exported, the Duty of 4s. per Quarter is drawn back by Debenture; and then the Malt being measured anew, the 20 Quar­ter being encreased to 40, draws back upon that Measure, and so the Exporter receives 8l. Draw-back, upon that which paid but 4l. Du­ty. This is so vile a Fraud, and so openly practis'd, that nothing is more wonderful to me, than that no notice has yet been taken of [Page 14] it, except this, that being so well known no care has been taken to put a stop to it.

But it does not end here: As there is a Draw-back allowed for the Malt-Duty, upon all the exported Malt, so there is a Bounty paid to the Exporter, by the Crown, for the encouraging the Exportation; and this is 2s. 6d. per Quarter more, which being likewise paid upon the 40 Quarter made out of 20, encrea­ses the Fraud 5l. more. So that the Crown pays back to the Exporter 13l. for every Score of Barley malted, and receives but 4l. by which it is no wonder that the Malt-Tax should be deficient.

Suppose then the Dutch pay a sham Price per Quarter for their Malt, and thus receive double for it again, it is no wonder that they can distil a Spirit from it cheaper than the Distillers in England, who fairly pay 6s. per Bushel to the Crown for all their Malt, and full 6d. a Gallon for the Spirits they draw from it.

Nor have the Dutch done with us yet; but let us examine it thorowly, and we shall see a greater Fraud yet behind.

The Dutch, I know not by what Error on our Side, are allow'd to import here foreign Brandy, the Duty upon Importation being 4s. 2d. per Gallon, or thereabouts; whereas the French Brandy pays 6s. 8d. per Gallon. This our People take up with, and call it French Brandy; and having sufficient Proof that it comes from abroad, are satisfied with it as such.

[Page 15] The Dutch tell us, it is not French, tho we have good Reason to believe that all the real Brandy that is in it is French, by which we are cheated that way. But that is not the Case; 'tis apparent, the Dutch mix their own Malt Spirits with this Brandy, and send it to us, while our People, deluded with the Notion that it must be right Brandy, because it comes by a foreign Permit, eagerly buy it for right Brandy, and give a Price accordingly.

Let any one judge then under what Disad­vantages we carry on this Trade with the Dutch, and how much it is the Interest of England to put a Stop to it; and granting it is our Interest, the next thing is to consider what is the Way to do it: And that is easily an­swer'd; the only Way is, to discourage the Importation of their adulterated Brandys, and encourage and encrease the Distilling Trade at home, by which so many Advantages accrue to the Nation, and the Consequences of which would yet be greater than perhaps is expected, or than is thought possible, except by some Men of more Penetration than ordinary, viz.

1. The People will by little and little be brought off from being so fond of foreign Spi­rits, by the Difficulty of coming at them, and the Badness of their Quality; as we see the Taste of the Nation was effectually brought off from the French to Portuguese Wines, by the Prohibitions and high Dutys of the late War.

[Page 16] 2. The Distillers here are apparently able to make as good, as fine, as clean and as whole­som a Spirit, from our own Materials, as any of those imported from abroad; infinitely bet­ter than the Dutch: and as they are every Day improving, will very soon, if they are not discourag'd, be able to outdo even the French Brandy itself. And it is apparent they produce so fine a Spirit already, that a very nice Palate cannot distinguish it from French; and had they the Dutch Trick of importing it from abroad, they might easily sell it for French Brandy, among the People.

I foresee, that as abundance of People are apt ignorantly to charge the Immoralitys, and particularly the Drunkenness of the Age, up­on the great Encouragement of the distilling Malt Spirits; so they would make that grow­ing Evil, a Reason against the just Encou­ragement, which ought to be given to the Business of the Distillers as a Trade; as if the encouraging the Distillers Business, would be an encouraging of Drunkenness: whereas we are speaking of it, as a needful and an advantageous Commerce; a Benefit to the Publick, to the Poor, and to the whole Na­tion. And that would be infinitely more so, if it may be encourag'd, in keeping out and putting a stop to that Foreign pernicious Com­merce, carried on to our great Loss and Disad­vantage. As to the Vice of Drinking to Ex­cess, we are no way concern'd in it; the Brewing Trade, and the Wine Trade, are liable [Page 17] to the same Objections: Yet I do not find it argued by any body, that therefore we must have no Beer, nor Wine.

So hasty Showers, when they from Heaven flow down,
Are sent to fructify, and not to drown;
And in the Torrent if a Drunkard sink,
'Tis not the Brook that drowns him but the Drink.
But twou'd be hard, because the Sinner's slain,
For fear of Drowning, we must have no Rain.

But to clear up this Case, upon which so much weak Cavilling has been made, I beg leave in a kind of Historical way, to enter a little into the State of National Drinking in England, as it has been, and as it now is. And tho I shall be very brief, I slatter myself it shall be both useful and diverting; especially, I answer for it, that it shall come directly to the Case in hand; and clear not only the Dis­tillers and the Distilling Trade, but even all the Liquors they make, from the Charge of being destructive to the Morals of the People, or an Encouragement to Drunkenness and Ex­cess, any otherwise than, nay not so much as, all strong Liquors are so to those, who drink to Excess.

Our Drunkenness as a National Vice, takes its Epocha at the Restoration Anno 1661-62, or within a very few Years after. Some run it back to James I. Time, and refer us to the Paint­ings on the Ceiling of the Banqueting-House, for Proof of it; but I am not writing Satyres; [Page 18] I am upon a Search after not so much the Vice, as the Materials and Manufactures upon which it is fed, and by which it was supported.

Joy, Mirth, good Cheer, and good Li­quor, were the Solace of the common People in the Year 1661. They rejoiced that after a long Usurpation, the King should enjoy his own again; that after a long Series of Blood and Confusion, and a Civil War in the Bowels of their Country, the People should enjoy a publick Peace and Tranquillity; that Trade should flourish, and Plenty succeed Misery and Want. These were the several Reasons of their Joy; and very merry, and very mad, and very drunken, the People were, and grew more and more so every Day.

As to the Materials, Beer and Ale were con­siderable Articles; they went a great way in the Work at first, but were far from being suf­ficient. Strong Waters, which had not been long in Use, came in play; the Occasion was this: In the Dutch Wars, it had been obser­ved, That the Captains of the Hollanders Men of War, when they were to engage with our Ships, usually set a Hogshead of Brandy a­broach, afore the Mast; and bid the Men drink lustick, then they might fight lustick: and our poor Seamen felt the Force of the Brandy, sometimes to their cost.

We were not long behind them; but sudden­ly after the War, we began to abound in strong Water-Shops. These were a sort of petty Dis­tillers, who made up those compound Waters [Page 19] from such mixt and confus'd Trash, as they could get to work from, such as damag'd and eager, or sour Wines; Wines that had taken Salt Water in at Sea; Lees and Bottoms; also damag'd Sugars, and Melasses, Grounds of Sy­der, and innumerable other such like. For till then there was very little Distilling known in England, but for physical Uses. The Spi­rits they drew were foul, and gross; but they mixt them up with such Additions as they could get, to make them palatable, and so gave them in general, the Name of Cordial Wa­ters. And thus the strong-Water-Shops usu­ally made a vast Show of Glasses, labell'd and written on, like the Gallypot Latin of the Apothecarys, with innumerable hard Names to set them off.

Here, as at a Fountain, the good Wives fur­nish'd their little Fire-side Cupboards, with a needful Bottle for a cherishing Cup: And hence, as from wholesale Dealers, all the little Chandlers Shops, not in London, and its ad­jacent Parts only, but over great Part of England, were furnish'd for Sale; and to the personal Knowledge of the Writer hereof, and of Thousands still living, not the Chandlers Shops only, but just as is now complain'd of, the Barbers Shops (Barber Chirurgeons they were then called) were furnished with the same, and sold it by Retail, to the poor People who came under their Operations.

And why should it be so suprising a Thing then in our Opinion, that the Geneva which, [Page 20] as I shall show presently, is but the same Thing returned again, should be so generally received among the inferior Poor? seeing would we but look thus a little way behind us, it would ap­pear that it was so with our Ancestors; and our poor People are only set down where their Fore-fathers were before them, (as to the Li­quors I mean.) As to the Difference of the Quantitys, and whether they drank more to Excess, than our People do now, that is a Question by itself, and not much to the pre­sent Case.

But it is objected, They did not drink such destructive Liquors then, as we do now: That is, in short, they did not drink Geneva; for that is the Meaning of it.

This Objection must be spoken to as we go along; because it comes into the History I am upon; for it leads me to give a brief Account of what they did drink, and where they had it. I have mentioned the Introduction of the strong-Water-Shops, and petty Distillers, who began this Trade. I come now to the Liquors; some of their Names were as follow.

    • Aqua Vitae.
    • Aqua Mirabilis.
    • Aqua Solis.
    • Aqua Dulcis.
    These in Latin.
    • Anniseed Water.
    • Cinamon Water.
    • Clove Water.
    • Plague Water.
    • Cholick Water, which in short was Geneva.
    These and many more in English.

But to sum up the whole, Aqua Vitae and An­niseed Water, were the Captains or Leaders; and the strong Inclinations of the People run all into those two: And in a little while the latter prevail'd over the former too; and as Anniseed Water was the only Liquor for some Years, the Quantity that was drunk of it, was prodigious great: In a word, it was the Geneva of these Times, it was not only sold in the Chandlers Shops, and in the Barbers Shops, as above; and perhaps in Bulks and Stalls too; but it had this particular Article attending it, (which we are not yet arrived to with the Geneva) viz. That it was cried about Sreets, of which, the Memory of the famous Anniseed Robin, will be a never-dying Testimony; who was so well known in Leaden-Hall, and the Stocks-Market for his Liquor, and his broad-brim'd­Hat, that it became proverbial, when we saw a Man's Hat hanging about his Ears, to say, he looks like Anniseed Robin.

This Part, viz. of going about the Streets, and into the Fields, to Shows, and Musters of the Trained Bands, to cry a Dram of the Bot­tle, has not been so long omitted, but that we can all remember it: And the Bumboats, who continue to this Day, crying a Dream of the Bottle, in the River, among the Ships, are a Remainder of that Custom, and which was ne­ver left off at-all.

I should not however have troubled you with these Instances from Low Life, but that it is in the Scene we are now acting; and this [Page 22] Anniseed Robin was a magnipotent Fellow in his Day, I assure you.

Having thus brought you back to the Dram­drinking Age, I must let you see how a full Stop was put to it on a sudden, and what be­came of the drinking World in the mean time.

As all these various sorts of good Liquor had their Meridian, so they had too their De­clination, and after some time they fell into a general Dislike: For the French out-did them exceedingly, and pouring in their Liquors at a very cheap rate, and the Goodness of the Brandy recommending it self also, the famous Anniseed Water began to lose Ground, and the People took their Drams in plain Brandy; the Physicians also, on all Occasions, telling the People, it was better than any of their com­pounded Waters.

Thus the best Brandy being sold for 2d. per Quartern, the Poor could have a large Dram for a Half-penny; and the Fellows that cry'd it about the Streets, carry'd with them little double Dram-Cups, which being held up on one side was a Penny, and on the other side a Half-penny.

This held on for several Years, and the Cus­tom-house Books will shew the prodigious Con­sumption, till the late Revolution; when a fu­rious and continu'd War the France breaking out, a Prohibition of Trade follow'd, Brandy rose from 2d. to 6d. per Quartern, and from thence to a Scarcity, so that none good was be had. The Distillers not being yet come into [Page 23] the way of Distilling from Malt, could not sup­ply them; and thus the Poor were thrown off from the Dram-Cup to the Alehouse-Pot, to their great Regret, as well as Expence: For now they could call for nothing less than a Pint, which tho for a while it was but a Pen­ny, yet soon after, by doubling the Excise, came up to three Half-pence, where it still stays. And thus I have gone thro' the first Part of my History.

It remains a Question, which I believe is not yet determin'd, tho I see not much Diffi­culty in it, Whether the Morals of the People were the better or the worse by this Change? If I may use so much Freedom, I insist that they are much the worse: And as my Reasons for it are of some weight in the present Debate, I beg you will hear them summ'd up as briefly for your Convenience as I can.

1. The Charge was immediately increas'd, and a poor Man that could before be refresh'd in his Labour, at the small Expence of a Half­penny, was now oblig'd to spend three Half­pence at a time, as often as either Necessity or Inclination call'd him.

2. The Expence of Time was immediately al­so encreas'd; for then poor Men in their Stails, or Garrets, or Shops, or wherever they were at their work, could call in, and call up, poor Anniseed Robin, or any of his Contemporarys or Successors, and take a Dram, without the least Loss of their Time, and go on with their [Page 24] Work: Or if they were at Day-Labour in the Field or the Street, in the Wet and the Cold, they could call for a Dram for a Penny or a Half-Penny, as their Pockets could afford, and go on with their Business; whereas upon this Change the Poor were really distress'd, and they made loud Complaints of it, as I very well remember.

Having thus gone thro' the History of what's past, and given you some Account of the man­ner of our Drinking till within these few Years, allow me to bring it on to our own Times, and view our Poor in the present Situation of their great Affair, I mean of Liquor; for what they shall drink is (I assure you) no matter of mean Concern to them.

The Poor, as above, having been reduc'd to the miserable Necessity of this Alehouse-Tip­pling, and grown sick of the tedious and dull, as well as expensive way of Drinking, were ap­parently ripe for a Change, if they could have found any way to their Advantage; when on a sudden the diligent Dutch, fruitful at Inven­tion, as the English are at Imitation, (and with their own Advantage at the bottom you may be sure,) help'd them out again, as they had done once before: for the Dutch Sutlers carry'd into the Camps in Flanders, during the late long Wars against France, a certain new distill'd Water call'd Geneva, being a good wholesom Malt Spirit, if rightly prepar'd, wrought up with Juniper-Berries; a Thing not only wholesom, but really physical, and for [Page 25] many Years allow'd to be so by the most cele­brated Physicians.

It was strange to observe, how this Liquor prevail'd in the Army; how the Soldiers were surprized at the Goodness of it; the Spirit, the Vigor it put into them: They declar'd publickly to one another, there never was any such Liquor heard of in the World; it put a perfectly new Spirit, and new Life into them; and invigorated them at such a rate, that it made them quite a new kind of Peo­ple.

At first, like the Champaign and Burgundy, it was drank among the Gentlemen only; a Drink for Generals, and for Officers: Nay, they tell us in Holland, that even the great D [...] of M [...] gave it a Character as a Thing that inspir'd Nature with a new Flame; and put a sort of Vigor into the Mind, which Nature itself was a Stranger to before; and that he recommended the (moderate) Use of it, to the greatest Men, when they were going at any time to engage the Enemy.

It is a great Mistake to argue from hence, that the Dutch always made their Soldiers mad with Drink, before they led them out to fight; for what I am saying of them now, is of the Generals and Officers, before the Sol­diers came to have any fellow-feeling of this Article.

At first, no doubt the Dutch made a fine Spirit of it, and as perfect as it was possible to be expected: But as the Dutch are hardly to be charged with any Deficiency in needful [Page 26] Craft, and that they saw plainly what was good for the High, was also good for the Low; and that the poor Soldiers Money was as good to them as the great Generals, if they could but make it out in Quantity; they soon came into the old Trading Maxim, viz. that Cheapness causes Consumption, and found out a Way to make a Sort of the same Spirit, and drawn perhaps from the same Ingredients; that be­ing made meaner in Quality, should be propor­tioned to the Purse, as well as to the Palate of the common Soldiers.

And thus the Soldiers in the Confederate Camp, came to the honour of Drinking upon a Level with their Officers, or at least, flat­tering themselves that they did so, which in­deed was almost the same Thing; and if there was any apparent Difference, it was such that neither Officers or Soldiers were nice enough in their Palates to judge of.

It would interrupt our Business and the main Design of this Work, to dwell too long upon the particular Steps and Gradations, by which Geneva gain'd so much upon the Minds of the common People; or to enquire into the Rea­sons of it: If what I have said, viz. its being thus approved by their general Officers, gave the first Occasion, it is sufficient to tell you, that by this means the Geneva gain'd a vast Cre­dit among the Dutch Troops; from the Dutch, it spread universally among all the Con­federate Armys; and the English Soldiers be­came as great Admirers of it, as any other Nation whatsoever; except the mere Dutch [Page 27] themselves, for they indeed drank it like Mo­thers-Milk.

But you are to take notice here, that the subtle Distillers, and particularly the wise Merchants of Amsterdam, who had felt the Sweet of the Trade, had consulted together to bring this Part to sute with their Interest also; namely, That the Geneva which they sent to the Army for the Use of the Officers and Gentlemen, (especially General Officers) bore a different Price from that which was open'd for the ordinary use of the Army, and for the common Soldiers: Whe­ther it differ'd in Virtue and Value or not, I cannot enter into here; for in such Liquors as these, I shall not answer for it, that what is sold for the highest Price, is always of best Qua­lity in proportion: sometimes, Fancy ground­ed upon an advanc'd Demand, answers to Goodness, and makes an Equivalent to the Quality of the Liquor; nor could those litle needful Frauds be always carried on without it: but of that by itself.

Let this Part be one way or other, and be the Liquor better or worse, this is certain, the Price was reduc'd in the common Suttlers-Car­riages; and the poor Soldiers had their Gin at a Rate fit for a poor Soldier to pay: And this too betray'd a Secret in the Dutch Commerce, which it has been proper to mention already; and for the sake of which, this Part has been mention'd here; and is absolutely necessary to speak of, namely, That the Dutch were ena­bled [Page 28] to bring down the Price of their Geneva, even without reducing the Goodness.

I must be allow'd to say, that it seems ex­ceeding hard, that as our Distillers were not then come into the Thing, and that Geneva was not known here; they should find themselves so oppressed, at their first Entrance; and the Dutch should be able not only to make their own Spirits Cent. per Cent. cheapter than we could, but that they shall be still able to import them upon us fifty per Cent. cheaper than we can make them, and yet raise them from the same Materials, namely, from our own Corn.

And here there is such an allow'd Conces­sion made by the whole Legislature of Great Britain, to one of the Articles summ'd up in the first Part of this Work, namely, of the vast Advantage the consuming of Corn is to the Landed Interest, that I could not but remind the Reader of it; namely, The allowing back all the Duty upon Malt, and 2s. 6d. Bounty-Money upon the exporting it as Barley, which if the Sums drawn back by Certificate, in the Countries of Norfolk and Kent only, are cast up, will appear surprising in Value: I say, it is a full Concession to our Argument, and no­thing but a full Conviction that the exporting it, is infinitely advantageous to Great-Britain, can be a justifiable Reason for it.

Were the Commons of Great-Britain to have been told when that Law was made, that all or the greatest Part of the Bounty, whatever Sums were drawn from the Publick by it, would [Page 29] only have two Effects, and both of them per­nicious to the British Commerce in general, and to the Revenue in particular; it is my Opinion they would have consider'd better of it, before they had pass'd it into a Law, or have put it in the Power of a voracious Set of Men, to have ruin'd so great and rising a Manufacture, and Branch of our Commerce, at our own Expence.

Were those Bountys taken off for a while, or were they reduc'd a little to a tolerable De­gree, the Consequence would presently be this, That the Dutch could no more draw a Spirit 50 per Cent. cheaper from our own Materials, than we could, or import it upon us, mixt among French or other Foreign Brandys, so much to our Disadvantage.

What Reason can be alledged, why the Dutch should be able to extract a better Spirit from the fame Goods? Nay, it is evident, they do not, and we are assur'd they cannot; but they have gotten into a Course of uncon­trolled K [...]ry, and by this they can send it over cheaper, and that is sufficient to all the rest; for Cheapness causes Consumption.

But to return to the Article above: When first the Dutch came into this Trade, as I hinted before p. 25. they took their Malt so rough, so grown, and so undress'd, that it was frequent for a Score of English Barley at that time, to hold out 50 to 60 quarters of Malt, at the Exportation; which accordingly magni­fied the Fraud, and entitled the Exporter to receive back twelve Pound for a Score of Bar­ley; [Page 30] which upon being gaug'd in the Cistern, paid to the Crown but 4l. Duty; and so again in the Bounty: But they have been pleas'd to be a little less barefac'd since, and have (thanks to their Modesty) reduc'd it by a slight Dres­sing, as above, to forty Quarters for twenty.

N. B. There is a little Cavil which may be rais'd here; and we doubt not our Oppo­sers will think, they have some Advantage in it, namely, That the Barley does generally swell one in the Score, before the gauging: but we may answer that by itself.

To what Extremes do we see wise Men run, upon wrong Information of Things; and yet how little Care do they take to be rightly and better inform'd of the Things they are mista­ken about? It will perhaps be very hard to persuade Men of common Sense to believe, that the Dutch can import their Spirits ex­tracted from our Materials, 50 per Cent. cheap­er than we can make them; and yet, at the same time prove too, that all the ordinary Parts of the Workmanship about them, may be per­formed as cheap in London, as in Amsterdam.

But it must be confessed, that when they come to be more fully and rightly inform'd of things, and to see what a Cheat is put upon the English Crown, in the Conditions upon which they get their Corn, which are the Materials; the Riddle is expounded presently, and we cannot suppose Men to have common Sense, who will not then open their Eyes to it.

[Page 31] But to come back to theCamp: Our sol­diers tasting this Liquor, brought the De­sire, as well as the Fame of it, over with them at the ensuing Peace; and our Dis­tillers preparing it as well here, as the Dutch abroad, they supply'd the People with it, wrought from our own Corn the Product of our own Land, very much to our Advan­tage, as has been said already: the Encrease of the Demand, afterwards encreassing the Con­sumption of our own Malt, to a very great degree.

It seems, Bacchus and the Brewer take Um­brage at this Invasion: and tho what between the Wine-Brewer, and the Beer-Brewer, they have had the poisoning Trade to themselves to long, that one would think they should be sa­tiated with the Mischiefs of it, tho they were not with the Profits, yet it seems they do not sit easy under it; tho I am told the Pretence of the Brewing Trade being declined on this Account, is but a Pretence, and no more. It seems they could have been content with it in the Apothecarys Shops, and allow'd it among the Materia Medica, to pass for good Phy­sick: but when they found it applied to the defeat of Tippling and Sotting, as above, they resolv'd against it, as fatal and destructive to the Health, and Understanding; and that as to the Tempers of the People, it was safer to be drunk with any thing, rather than Geneva.

[Page 32] It is a poor Foundation to raise Clamour upon; viz. To single out the vicious Temper of the Poor, to exclaim against; when here is a Vice in our Trade, that wants reforming first, and which if an End were put to it, would both do the Crown and the Revenue Justice: It would block up the Door to any more Dutch Cheats, (of this kind at least) and put it into our own Power to reform the rest with more ease; and till then, I doubt, it will never be reformed, while we live.

It has been suggested by some, (how weak­ly, we shall see presently) that burdening the Distilling Trade in England with new Dutys, will be a Means to cure all the Evils which they acknowledge seem to be growing upon us, by the immoderate Use or drinking of the Malt Spirits, among the Poor. If these Mens Zeal for the Reformation of the People, was no greater than their Knowledge of the true Interest of their Country; they would never propose a Method which should only shut the Door against the drinking our own Manufac­ture, our Spirits distill'd at home, and open the Door to a Flux or Tide of the same, or worse Spirits imported from Holland, and so bring in Dutch Drunkenness among us too: which, by the way, is yet something of a worse kind than our own, feeding the Intemperance of the People with the same or worse Ingredients; but giving the Dutch the Profit of it, and lea­ving us nothing but the Poverty and the Crime.

[Page 33] Had not this preposterous Notion started itself into the World, just when these Sheets were in the Press, and so fair an Opportunity was left to answer and expose it, this Tract had not swell'd to such a bulk: but since the Politicks of these Gentlemen have taken such a Turn, and this Flight of their Wit has carried them to such a height, I must trespass a little on the Patience of the Gentlemen, that shall see these Sheets, to give in a Word or two, upon so weighty a Sug­gestion.

All wise Crowns, and ours of England in particular, make it a Maxim in their laying Dutys, never by loading their own Product, to encourage Importations from abroad, in prejudice of the same Goods manufactur'd at Home. But if it shall be prov'd,

1. That burthening the English Distillery, will only serve to encrease the Advantage of Foreigners, and ruin the Manufacture of Spirits distill'd from our own Corn at Home; how will it answer the wise Maxims of State and of Trade, which we all depend so much upon?

2. If it shall appear that such a burthening the Manufacture at Home, will but encrease the Frauds of Foreigners; and instead of detec­ting the vilest clandestine Commerce in En­gland, and the opennest and grossest Abuse of Parliamentary Bounty, with a lessening to the publick Good, which it was appointed to en­crease; wherre then will the good End of the Parliament be answered; and how well are such People qualified for Politicians?

[Page 34] And if after all it should further appear that the Proposal itself comes from a Quarter where no such sanative Principles as these of preserving our Trade are to be found; but that it is all from a View to separate and corrupt Ends, tending in themselves to support the Interest of a Set of Men, who carry on a Trade a thou­sand times more pernicious to Trade and to the Morals of the People than this: I say, if this should be prov'd by it all, then it must give a new Turn to our Conceptions about these Things themselves; we must run 'em all over again in our Thoughts.

Let us then endeavour to state the Case clear­ly, among us

1. That the Dutch do cheat, and impose upon us already, most grosly and barefacedly; or rather to put it right, the Exporters of the Malt to Holland, do cheat and impose upon us: (for if the Dutch are not the Men, let us not wrong the Devil, but lay the Saddle on the right Horse.)

2. That by this Cheat, let who will be in it, the Dutch Distillers (for we are not talking of the Dutch as a Nation, but as Traders, and especially as Distillers) are enabled to buy their Malt for less than half the Price which our English Distillers give for it.

3. That by this means they are likewise ena­bled to work their Spirits (whether the Gene­va or other Spirits) for we are not now speaking of one sort more than another, so cheap as to sell them one time with another for at least 50 [Page 35] per Cent. less Price, than our Distillers can work them for, from the same Materials.

4. That by the Advantages, Disguises, and va­rious Kinds of crafty Ways which the Dutch have, for disposing and dispersing these Spirits among our People, under the Names of Fo­reign Brandys, and by the Aid of Foreign Per­mits, (for they always find the way to make us the Tools of our own Delusions) they have an Opportunity to sell that 50 per Cent. dearer than we do, which they can make 50 per Cent. cheaper.

Let any considering Person take these Things in pieces a little, and examine them separately.

All Errors and Mistakes of Mankind, are much better and easier prevented in Principle, than corrected in Practice; as Fire is easier suppress'd in the Sparks, than in the Flame: The first and grossest of all the Mischiefs that can be complain'd of in the Distilling Trade, are founded in this Original Fraud of putting 13l. of the Crown-Money in the Pocket of the Exporters, for every Score of Barley which is malted for their Exportation, whether to Hol­land or any other Part, and for which they pay 4l. Duty, and no more, or very little more, as has been said.

Let us first see the Magnitude of this Cheat, and then a little of the Consequence of it: Suppose the Dutch take off an hundred thou­sand Quarters of Malt a Year for their Distille­ry; if I under-calculate it, the Gentlemen can make an Allowance for that, upon all their own [Page 36] Estimations; and I doubt not but I speak much below the Quantity: But, I say, suppose the Dutch take off for the Use of their Distil­ling Trade, one hundred thousand Quarters of Malt from England every Year;

 l.s.d.
This ought by the Malt De­bentures to draw back after the rate of 4s. Sterling per Quar­ter, which is in the whole200000000
And for the Bounty allow'd by Act of Parliament, on the Exportation of it as Corn, it ought to receive also 2s. 6d. per Quarter more, which is up­on the whole125000000
Total325000000

This Encouragement, were there nothing more in it, is very considerable; and gives the Dutch a vast Advantage over our Distillers here at home, who pay this whole Duty with­out any Draw-back, Bounty, or other Encou­ragement whatsoever; except it be, that they also pay a heavy Duty upon the Spirits again, after they are distill'd; instead of which, the Dutch sending their Spirits hither, by the help of another Fraud subsequent to all the rest, have a Price for theirs superior to ours, and pay no Duty at all; and whatever Duty is paid, we pay it our selves, as we are the last Con­sumers.

[Page 37] But after we have considered the heavy Weight of 32500l. upon every hundred thou­sand Quarter of Malt, which the Dutch take off, and the Disadvantages which our Distillers lie under upon this account, let us add to it, what is mentioned p. 13. and undeniably made out, namely, That the Dutch, or some­body for them, draw off from us just two and thirty Thousand five hundred Pounds Sterling more, upon every hundred Thousand Quarter of Malt they take off, and which is done by the mere Craft and Fraud of the Ex­porter, as has been said; which our Offices are so supinely negligent in, as to pass upon them­selves for Law; or our Officers so well inte­rested in as to connive at. I do not pretend to enquire, whether it is Ignorance or Cor­ruption, let the Gentlemen concern'd acquit themselves of it as well as they can; it is equal to the poor discourag'd Distillers, whether they are oppress'd by one or the other; 'tis mani­fest they are oppress'd by it, be it which way it will: 'tis the same thing, if my House be fir'd, whether it were done by a Fool-Ser­vant, or a Rogue-Servant; the House is burnt, and I feel the Loss, let it be done how it will.

Not but that it may come in my way in this Debate, to say something of the probable Cau­ses, or at least the Encouragements of these gross pieces of Fraud; and how a wise Nation, as we are esteem'd to be, or at least think our selves to be, should come to shut our Eyes so [Page 38] apparently to our own Interest, as to lie open to such Cheats as these are, and to be so abus'd every Day; nay not to shut our Eyes to them, but to be abus'd with our Eyes open, (for cer­tainly this can never be said to be a Secret) if it has been practis'd so long, and never seen before; we must have been as unhappy in the Ignorance, as I think we are expos'd in the Fraud of it.

But to return to the Point, about loading the Distillers Trade with farther Weight: I would humbly recommend to those Gentlemen who have this Design under Consideration, if any are so weak, that they would first consider of un­loading it; and then they may put it into a Condition to bear any Hardships they shall afterwards put upon it, with the greater Ease.

Let them unload it from the dead Weight, which these clandestine Practices are not to the Trade only, but to the whole Nation; for in short, 'tis a Tax levied upon us, to give to a set of clandestine Traders: whether they are Dutchmen or Englishmen, or any Men, where the Malt is ship'd for Holland, 'tis the same thing, 'tis a National Grievance, and a Bur­den upon the Trade, which ought to be remo­ved.

All Inequality of Burthens, is a Prejudice to the fair Trader; in the Sense of which Maxim, it has always been the Care of our Crown by an Equality of Burthens, to give the fair Trader a due Advantage: Hence smug­gling [Page 39] and clandestine Trade, is on so many Ac­counts guarded against, and by so many Laws made criminal among us, tho so impossible to be fully prevented.

But here is a Law, which however good in it self, and intended with the same just View, is unhappily, and by the Craft of a set of Fo­reigners, perverted, the Point of it turn'd up­on the fair Traders; and the greatest clandes­tine Fraud that ever was, (of its kind) prac­tised in England, is set up by its Authority: So that the Cheat is supported by the very Law that was made to prevent it; may, it is founded upon the very Execution of that Law of Equality, on which Justice was to have been expected.

Instead of an encouraging Draw-back, by which the Consumption of our Growth was supposed to be secur'd, and in order to which the Exporter to have the Benefit of all; the Duty that was paid being return'd to him, he receives 4l. per Score in one Article more than ever was paid, and 2l. 10s. in another, more than ever was intended.

I have often heard it spoken of, with some wonder, in England, how it came to pass, that in some particular Places on the Coasts, the Draw-back upon the Duty on Malt came to more than the Duty it self; as was alledg'd once likewise in the Affair of the Salt-Duty, and by which, as I have been told, a gross Abuse of the Publick afterwards was detected. Whether it was so in the Salt or no, and how [Page 40] it came about, is none of my Business: But if it be so likewise in the Malt Draw-back, I believe, upon a due Enquiry into the Reason of it, some of these wicked Things might come to light, and perhaps more than some People are aware of.

But to reduce all this to the true End for which all such Complaints ought to be made, namely, the preventing the like; and suppo­sing it to be detected and prevented, as we hope it may, what are we to enquire next?

The next Question is, How would this re­form the Abuses of the Distilling? My Answer is direct, in two Heads.

  • 1. You would then have no Abuses to cor­rect but our own; whereas now all the Cor­ruptions and Adulterations of Foreigners, are put to our home-Account.
  • 2. The Distillers then being, as is said, again secur'd and form'd into a Body, with due Pow­ers to act by, and sufficient Encouragement, are able to answer for all Abuses of the Trade, that is, they are able to answer that there should be no Abuses committed, no unwholesom Liquors distilled, or sold if they were distill'd.

This being the Case, there would be nothing left for the Crown to be concern'd in, but to prevent if they can, the Intemperance of the People,

Nor would such a Regulation want its En­couragement even in the Nature of the thing; there are many Ways to encrease the Revenue, [Page 41] besides loading Trade with new Taxes. If this particular Branch, clogg'd with Difficulties, and oppress'd by Foreigners, Smuglers, and the like, may be set free from those Oppressions and Weights, giving it room to encrease, encreases the Revenue of course; whereas while it sinks under those Weights, adding Du­tys only serves to sink it deeper, and so even lessens the Revenue which it paid before.

This was the Case exactly with the late high Dutys upon Pepper; while those Dutys sub­sisted, the Revenue was devour'd, I think I may say wholly devour'd, by the Draw-backs; and all the Home-Consumption of Pepper was sup­ply'd by clandestine Trade, that is to say, by Smuglers; whereas those high Duties being again taken off, the Trade return'd into its own Channel, and the Revenue reviv'd which was sunk before.

Thus if the Distilling Trade should be loaded with more Duties, while these Frauds on the Foreign Trade still remain unredress'd, what must be the Case but this, namely, The Foreigners would have all the Business, and the Distillers might put out their Fires and sit still?

But I meet with another popular Objection still, and it shews a little from what Quarter all the rest has come. The Objection is this:

That the Distillers pay too small an Excise, that they may pay a little higher Duty very well, and that they do not pay an Equality with the Brewer upon a Quarter of Malt.

[Page 42] Now, tho this seems a little envious at best, supposing we should grant the Suggestion, as if the Brewer was uneasy that any Malt should be consum'd but what should pay as great a Duty as that which their own Trade pay; yet as it happens not to be so in fact, it ex­poses the Objector so much the more, and leaves us to guess (a little the plainer) whence these Clamours at the Distillers had at least some of their Original. I shall enquire into the Particulars presently, but shall name ano­ther Objection of something a like nature along with it.

It is also said, there is a sudden and great De­cay of the Brewing Trade in London; and this too they would place to the account of the Distilling Trade; as if the Distillers were rising upon the Fall of the Brewers; all which are mere groundless Jingles of a few designing Men, who would deserve more regard if they spoke truth, and as they are mistaken, de­serve indeed little or none at all.

It is true, we have not room here to give a large and particular Answer to all these Cavils; for such we hope to prove them to be and no more. But yet we cannot close this Tract without letting them know that we have heard all they have to say upon these ma­terial Heads; which upon the whole, amounts to but very little in Substance, tho much perhaps in Noise and Pretences. The whole may be briefly answer'd in the following Par­ticulars, reserving a more full and particular [Page 43] Answer, as we may hereafter see occasion. But to take them as they lie:

1. It is so far from being true, that the Distillers pay less Duty upon a Quarter of Malt than the Brewer, that 'tis evident they pay more. And not to enter at this time into a Calculation of the Particulars, here not being room for it, this we may undertake to assert, namely, That the Distillers pay near 12s. per Quarter upon the Malt they use, allowing a just proportion for its being not drest down to the same Fineness, and con­sequently the same Measure as that of the Brewers.

Whereas on the contrary, the Brewers, the Dressing of their Malt being likewise consi­der'd, do not pay above 8s. to 8s. 6d. on each Quarter.

For let it be considered here what is observ'd already in its place, and ought to have notice taken of it on all occasions; namely, that for the Double-Beer, Pale-Ales, Stout, and such like Drinks, which the Brewers now run so much upon, and in which they do not draw near so great a length from a Quarter as in the ordinary Brewing, they of course do not pay so much to the Crown for the Excise; nay, for these Liquors they may be said not to pay six Shillings per Quarter on the Malt: whereas the Distillers always extracting the utmost Spirit the Malt will put forth, and paying as much Duty for the meanest Malt as the Brewer does for the best, has an infi­nite [Page 44] Disadvantage, and pays more for his Malt, by how much the less Spirit he extracts from it.

This, as above, will require a more full Ex­planation, and on occasion such an Explana­tion will not be wanting; but in the mean time, those who make the Objection know so much of the Truth of it, that they are able to save us the Labour, and answer them­selves, tho at this time perhaps such generous Treatment may not be for their Interest.

I go back then to the first Head, namely, That there is a great and sudden Decay of the Brewing Trade. My Answer is,

1. There has been no apparent Decay of the Brewing Trade, one Year with another, for above four Years past, to last Midsummer; what Decay has been must be since that time.

2. By consequence then the great encrease of the Consumption of Spirits in England has not been the Cause of the Decay of the said Brewing: for as that Encrease has been of three or four Years continuance, why, if it decay'd the Brewing Trade, was it never felt till since Midsummer last?

3. There has been no proportion'd Advance upon the Distillery since Midsummer last; why then should the Decay of one be occasion'd by the other, which has not felt the Effect of it? If the Distilling had encreas'd in propor­tion during that time, and that, so much more than ever it had done before, then indeed the Water of one Channel being found in the [Page 45] Stream of another, would account for the difference. But as that is not so in fact, the Deficiency must be from some other more ap­parent Cause, and that we shall see presently.

The apparent Causes of the Decay or sud­den stop of the Brewing, so far as the Fact may be granted, (for it is not so mighty in Fact as in Noise) are these:

1. The excessive Dearness of Hops the last Season, which was so heavy a Rent-Charge upon the Brewer, that it really put a check to their whole Business; and some of them found it hard to furnish themselves with a suitable Stock upon any Terms whatever: That Difficulty has of course caused them to lessen the Quantity of Beer among their Customers, as much as they could, when they came to lay in their Stores.

2. The Dearness of Malt it self, which by the universal Badness of the Season in all the Malting Counties, has had an effect upon the Malt as well as upon other Grain; this has both lessen'd the Quantity and advanc'd the Price, so that Malt in particular has been 5 to 6s. per Quarter dearer this Year than it was the last. These things have been so apparent, and here so well known to other People as well as to the Brewers themselves, that 'tis something strange they should lay themselves open to so effectual a Reply.

But this too will appear less strange when we shall add, that the K [...]ery of the Brewers themselves, to say no worse of it, may have [Page 46] some share in the Reasons for a sudden Decay of their Trade; especially if it be true that they have come into that bare-fac'd piece of Policy, viz. To strike their Work in order to lessen the Excise, and so make a joint Clamour for promoting the Design. But of this we may say more in its proper Place.

But now, to put in a Word for the Poor, as well as for the Trade, and so to close this Dis­course; you must allow me to say, that were it so that they had quite forsaken the drinking Beer and Ale, and were wholly come in­to the drinking of Spirits, Brandy, Geneva, or what you please; it seems to me they have done not only that which their Ancestors did before them, but even what their Superiors have seem'd to lead them into just now, by a general Example. As follows.

There has been for some Years, and still continues among us. a national Gust or Inclina­tion to drinking stronger and highe pric'd Li­quors than formerly; I do not say we drink more, or more to Excess, that is a Subject of another Nature, and however true, is not to my present Purpose. But the Stream of the Nation's Palate runs, I say, for stronger and dearer Liquors. Let me begin at the Head.

The Ladys and Gentlemen of Quality and Distinction, not content with the usual, and as I have said above, most wholesom Dram, call'd right French Brandy, now treat with Ratafia and Citron, at a Guinea a Bottle.

[Page 47] The Punch Drinkers of Quality, (if any such there be) not contented with the best French Brandy in their Bowls, must have Ar­rack at 16s. to 18s. per Gallon.

The Wine Drinkers of the better sort, not content with the Portugal and Barcelona Wines, must have high Country Morgeau, O Brian and Hermitage Clarets, at 5s. to 6. per Bottle; and after that Champagn and Burgundy at 7s. to 8s. per Bottle.

The common Draft of Red Wine of Opor­to and Viana, tho all stronger than the French Wines formerly drank, is not now strong e­nough for the Citizens; but they must be made up (so the Wine-Brewers call it) with Lisbons, with Alicants, and Bene-Carloes: and the Oporto and Lisbon Whites, tho very strong, are turn'd out of Doors, for the yet stronger Mountain Malaga.

To descend still lower: Our common Drink­ers of Ale or Beer, are not contented as for­merly, with the ordinary Beer and Beer, or Porters Ale; but they are advanced, first to Two-penny, then to double-Beer, and Stout; and now to the strongest North-Country Bur­ton, and Tamworth Pale Ale; Dorchester and Newbury Beers, and the like; of which great Quantitys are brought up by Land Car­riage, above 100 Miles, and for which, above 300 small-Brew-houses, have, as I am told, been erected within these few Years, in the City and the adjacent Parts; which Ales are sold from 6d. to 10d. per Quart.

[Page 48] In like manner then, the Poor following this unhappy Humour of the Rich, and find­ing themselves as willing to gratify their Palate, only not equally able to bear the Expence, are fallen into the old Dram-drinking Way, which their Fathers practis'd before them; and which, as it is easy to their Pockets, spends less of their Time; and unless they please, no more prompts their Excesses, than the Beer and the Ale did before; and if I may give my Opi­nion, I think indeed not so much. And thus I have brought down the History to our pre­sent Times.

I shall close this Tract, which is already swell'd to a larger Bulk than was intended, with a few very short Hints at the Disadvan­tage which the Distillers at present are under in the Course of their Trade, and which they hope to be deliver'd from, by the Justice of the Parliament, and the Encouragements which they have reason to hope for and expect.

Some of the Disadvantages they are under, are as follows.

1. That whereas all the Malt exported to Holland, and from which the Dutch extract the Spirits which they import upon us, draws back the whole Duty, besides a Bounty of 2s. 6d. per Quarter to the Exporter (not to speak of the Fraud mentioned above, and which doubles both the Draw-back and the Bounty) yet our own distill'd Spirit upon Ex­portation draws back but 4l. 4s. per Tun of [Page 49] the Excise paid, and nothing at all of the Malt Duty.

Thus the Dutch are enabled exceedingly to under-work and under-sell the English Distiller (even by our selves) and at the Expence of our own Crown, whom they so many ways in­jure in the said Allowances.

2. That by the Advantages given to the Dutch for the importing Brandy 2s. 6d. per Gallon Duty less than the French, which Du­tys are also paid by the Importers, not by the Dutch, they have an unrestrain'd Liberty of imposing their Mixtures upon us, of a baser Kind; which Mixtures, because they appa­rently come from abroad, and are called Bran­dy at the Custom-house, our People are easily persuaded to take for true Brandy, whereas it is very well known, that many times it is in­ferior to our common Malt Spirits, and our Distillers affirm, they are able to out-do even the best of it.

The Dutch, by the like Artifice, come in­to our Rivers and Ports, or at least into the open Roads where our Ships ride, as in Yar­mouth Roads, the Downs, St. Helens, and even into the River of Thames, up to the Nore and the Hope, and there supply our out­ward-bound Ships with their Spirits, or Brandys (as they call them) not only for the said Ship's use, but also in Quantities for Trade; for all which no Entry is made, or any Duty at all paid: So that our Guinea and East-In­dia Ships in particular, which used to take [Page 50] in large Quantities of Liquors of our Distillers, go away now with little or no Stores, de­pending to be supply'd by the Dutch in the Downs and other Places.

These are all great Obstructions to the Dis­tilling Trade; and as they are withal great A­buses upon the fair Traders in general, and in­jurious to the Crown in particular, we cannot doubt, but if fairly represented, the Distil­lers shall have such Relief, as in right and justice they ought to expect.

Besides these apparent Discouragements in favour of Foreigners, and in favour of clandes­tine Trade, they are unjustly attack'd with Clamours and popular Pretences, as if their Trade was a publick Nusance, and ought to be regulated by the Magistrates; suggesting, that their Liquors are unwholesom, and destruc­tive, Incentives to Vice, and tempting to the Poor, to the Waste of their Health, Money, Time and Understandings; Things which tho not worth replying to, their apparent Partiali­ty being sufficiently already exposed, and as all the Excesses of the People, either in these Liquors or any other are founded in their own Intemperance; the Distillers say, if they may obtain such Powers and just Authority, which as a Company they once had, and still ought to have, and which other Companys in Cases less essential to the Health of the People now have, so as they may be able to inspect and regulate the Trade as it ought to be regulated, they would answer to the World for the Wholesom­ness [Page 51] of the Liquors they extract, and appeal to the Understanding and Sense of the most experi­enc'd Physicians, if unprejudic'd.

As for the learned and worthy Physician, who, if Report lyes not, is to be employ'd to show to the World the pernicious Consequence of drinking Geneva or Malt Spirits, and how many Thousands it has slain, we impatiently wait his elaborate Performance; and to help it forward, only beg he will not omit to prove also, the few needful Particulars following.

  • 1. That the Malt Spirits made in England are much more pernicious than those made in Holland and sent over hither, tho made all from the same Materials.
  • 2. That the Liquor call'd Geneva is mortal in it self, and that the Juniper-Berries put into it are Poison.
  • 3. That it is the Liquor it self, not the im­moderate Use or Excess of it, that does the Mischief.
  • 4. That 'tis much better to be drunk with Strong-Beer and Pale-Ales brew'd from Malt, than with Spirits extracted from the same Malt, tho it is the Spirit alone in the Beer and Ale that intoxicates.
  • 5. That Drunkenness by Ale and Beer, de­stroys no Health, wastes no Time, spends no Money, weakens no Understandings; and that it is only the Geneva that does such wicked Things as those.
  • 6. That there are more People drunk with Geneva than with Ale and Beer, and that a poor Man can be drunk for a Half-penny.
  • [Page 52] 7. And lastly, to clench it all, Let him prove that more People die of drinking Gene­va, than die of the Doctor; not failing to tell to the World, where that formidable Geneva Shop stands, that has slain more Christians than himself.
FINISH.

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